Arkan Lushwala is an Andean ceremonial leader from Peru. He speaks and writes about indigenous ways of restoring the world with a leadership style that is humble and open. He runs an organization called the Pachamama Alliance and has written two books.
In The Time of the Black Jaguar, he discusses essential and relevant topics, such as healthy relationships, stress, and climate change. His book is full of wisdom and exciting personal stories, including when he faced a wild black jaguar.
In this blog post, I’ll share the most insightful takeaways from Lushwala’s The Time of The Black Jaguar.
“In this modern society, there isn’t any consistent practice or tradition used for compensating the Earth for all that is taken from Her.”
We’re not wasting food when we offer food to the earth, our ancestors, or the Gods. We’re giving back a little of what’s valuable to us to remember that everything we have is what the planet gives us.
For us to live life fully, money and things should circulate. It, therefore, isn’t strange for an Indigenous healer to see greed and the incapacity to share as an illness.
The Andeans have ceremonies where you give away things you value to others. The paradox is that the more you give, the more you seem to receive. Arkan gives the example of a girl who gave away almost all her clothes. Until this day, she keeps receiving the most beautiful clothes as gifts from others.
Opposite to common belief, violence is not a necessary condition.
When Miss Universe says, I want world peace; most deem it an impossible and, therefore, silly statement.
But is it that silly?
The Caral civilization, around 3000-1800 B.C., seemed to be a peaceful people. No indications of warfare, weapons, or mutilated bodies, have ever been found there.
That means it is possible to go back to this way of living.
“So strongly seeking examples of masculinity, boys are receiving false models, full of violence and arrogance.”
Think of world leaders who spread bigotry and hatred.
The problem is that these role models inspire inflated egos and act out of fear and greed.
What the world needs, Lushwala says, is authentic masculinity. There’s nothing wrong with strength and moving with force if it comes from a place of honor, love, and beauty.
The human mind is always busy and looking for solutions. But that mind is not the only mind we have. There’s another voice coming from deep down. One that we can find in meditation.
“Too much effort is just as bad as making no effort.” It creates a lack of silence and time for what is really important.”
“We’re trying to resolve everything without taking the time to listen.”
The answer is the clock.
“Modern man imprisoned time in the machine and then became a prisoner of that machine.”
Since then, humans have lived in a world ruled by manufactured time without space for sacred aloneness.
“Large numbers of people have become highly productive but have forgotten how to live, share their love, and enjoy life.”
We have to wait for our holidays to remember how to flow in a natural rhythm, and even then, we struggle to let go of our work and time.
In The Time of the Black Jaguar, Lushwala wonders who Napolean was. Why did he want to conquer the world? How did he grow up? Why did he need to become so important?
In Europe, we tend to glorify someone like Napoleon for his achievements. But does this make sense? Why do we appreciate someone who needs to conquer others to become more powerful?
The Indigenous people of Peru wouldn’t dare to put themselves in the center of the world.
“A lack of humility, arrogance, and personal greatness is seen as very rude behavior in the houses of the Indigenous people. There is no merit in being humble, either. It simply means being aware of the truth and focusing on serving the common good.”
Above anything else, the most important thing for Indigenous people is cultivating good relationships. Beyond temples, spirituality lives in simple gestures of generosity, tenderness, and a heart-centered way of being.
In the West, people typically ask, “what is this?” when facing something unknown. Once something has been described, it has been placed in a category and can be discarded.
But categorizing something doesn’t mean we understand it. When we know the sound of a bird and its colors, do we really know it?
In the Indigenous mentality, asking where something is, is more important.
“To ask where it is, makes you look for an encounter with it; it leads you to establish a relationship with the unknown being.”
This mentality also applies to romantic relationships.
It is more important for couples to have real encounters (spend time together) than to keep trying to figure out who the other person is. Where your partner is and where you are in relation to your partner is, therefore, essential.
This interaction is a dance that flows beautifully.
However, if we start overthinking, we can no longer “dance” as a couple. “To deeply understand another takes a long time and cannot happen before taking a ride in a river of experiences.”
When we possess something or someone, we kill its mystery. We become lazy and stop asking where the other person is, thinking that the person is always “with us.”
This belief creates a separation. Instead of dancing (interacting), we make an image of the other in our mind that is not in line with who the person is. This incongruency eventually leads to a more definite separation.
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